How can we have come this far together without me dropping some food-related wisdom about the Amherst food scene? Look for a restaurant review shortly, but for now, I’ve put together a short list of code words you need to know in order to survive 3 square in Val.
1. “Fresh” as an adjective on the Valentine Hall menu usually means just the opposite. The fact that they had to say that to make it sound better is a sure-fire sign of average quality and potential ‘maturity’. Because Val doesn’t serve wine (total BS in my opinion) older is never better…avoid at all costs. Also… the fact that you put “fresh” on some items and not others is daunting to begin with if you ask me. What does that say about the other shit you serve us 7 days a week? Not fresh? Clearly just a rhetorical flourish on the menu.
2. “Asian Style” vegetables: Don’t be fooled. There is nothing inherently Asian about this medley except for the inclusion of like 4 snow peas. All this really means is you get some steamed to death shredded cabbage, a few carrots, some red onions that are so overcooked they mash with a spoon. Interestingly enough not only Asians steam vegetables and not only Asians eat cabbage so I’m not sure what they are driving at. I apologize to any and all Asians whose cuisine has been so unfortunately mistreated.
3. “Grilled Breast of Chicken”: First off, call it a fucking chicken breast. Your little word tricks do not enhance the mediocrity of the food, which speaks for itself. As far as I can tell, the lighter side grilled chicken has slightly improved from the weirdly uniform shapes of steamed mush that they used to be. This does appear to be real chicken. However, it was only seared on the grill briefly at high heat to mark it for aesthetic purposes. After that, it sits in the weird steam bath thingy for a million hours and continues to cook and lose moisture until it is hard and dry. The grill marks look nice but are not worth the metallic aftertaste and propane fuel essence that perfume these little hockey pucks.
The series will continue as I delve deeper into the mysteries of the Val menu. For now though, proceed with caution. I just bought a crock pot so you will be seeing less of me in there from now on.